I am having the same issues. Every time I try to run the patcher, I get a "can't start because can not find MFC71.DLL" error. I am slightly familiar with what this error entails but I can find NO information on this even though the problem has happened to many people.
They just have no solution or link to some site to download .dll files. Lol, no thank you.
So, since I am sure some people have had to run into this issue trying to patch the mods, can I get some help please!! :-)
I managed to solve this out. First, I dl'ed those missing dll's (in my case there were two of them) - just google them and for sake of security install them manually (in winxp - copy them into system32 folder iirc). Second - I realised that I was trying to use older version of those mods. In mediafire sort those files by the date of the modification and download the latest. I managed to run the latest tropical without a problem. Some additional info can be found here: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=6576.30
But be warned - work on those mods apparently was stopped, but they are not fully stable. I was playing with tropical and strawberry, iirc, and later in the game crashes (directx layer error) started to occur when browsing the colony list (in my case it was when I had 20 or 30 colonies). I didn't found any remedy and stopped playing.
Yeah, I meant to update this. I finally got this to work myself. I found the .dll file from a forum user here and then found a patcher that worked. Lol, it was not easy but I finally prevailed.